Uganda's coffee sector works towards a climate resilient value chain

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Participating service providers act out a story representing the impacts of climate hazards on their activities and current responses in front of other actors at the production level of the coffee value chain, Rakai District, Uganda. Photo: Julie Dekens

KAMPALA, Uganda—March 18, 2014— An innovative new pilot initiative demonstrates how to take a more integrated approach to climate adaptation in Uganda’s coffee value chain where farmers and processors are the most vulnerable to climate change.

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), along with the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives (MoTIC), Makerere University (MAK), and the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) worked together during a six-month period in 2013 to provide a platform for dialogue on climate risk management among actors along the coffee value chain—from producers to exporters. Click here to read the briefing note Promoting an Integrated Approach to Climate Adaptation: Lessons from the coffee value chain in Uganda.

The study found that climate hazards such as droughts, floods and changing rainfall patterns already negatively affect all actors along the coffee value chain, but in different ways and to different extents. Results also showed that coffee farmers and processors generally tend to be more vulnerable to climate hazards than traders, middlemen and exporters, due to their limited diversification, weak organizational capacities and the unfavorable policy environment.

‘‘As a result of this pilot initiative, for the first time in Uganda, climate risks were integrated into trade-related issues at the ministerial level. MoTIC considers the integration of climate risk along agro-value chains necessary to be able to ensure the competitiveness of the country in the long term. The process used for this pilot can be scaled-up and replicated for other agro-value chains in Uganda,” said Elizabeth Tamale, assistant commissioner at the Internal Trade Department of MoTIC.

Relatively little has been done in Uganda, as elsewhere, to support climate adaptation along entire value chains, particularly beyond the production level. Little is known about the impacts of climate change at the post-harvest stage, especially in developing countries. It should be noted that most actors are already making some efforts to minimize the negative impacts of climate hazards on their activities, but not all responses are sustainable. The study also provides evidence that a lack of communication and trust between and among actors along the value chain particularly hampers climate adaptation.

For more information: please refer to the briefing note available on the IISD website.

  • Norman Ojamuge, senior commercial officer, Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives (MoTIC): +256 782 015 143;
  • Fredrick Bagamba, researcher, Makerere University (MAK), Department of Agribusiness and Natural Resource Economics: +256 774 246 156;
  • Julie Dekens, researcher, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD): +41 22 917 85 16;


  • Collaborators: This initiative is a joint effort of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives (MoTIC), Makerere University (MAK), and the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) who worked together during a six-month period in 2013.
  • Method: The analysis of climate impacts and responses along the value chain was based on a qualitative and participatory approach using Climate Dialogue Theatres (CDTs)—a method which uses drama to elucidate value chain actor perceptions of climate impacts and responses, and to promote adult learning on climate adaptation. Three CDTs were organized at the production, transformation and marketing levels, mobilizing a total of 80 participants representing farm input suppliers, coffee farmers, traders, processors, exporters, and service providers from Rakai district (southwest) and Kampala. A national multi-stakeholder workshop bringing actors from the three CDTs was conducted at the end of the process to understand how climate risks and responses are being transmitted, or not, along the chain.
  • Recommendations for the future: The study recommends three win-win solutions along the coffee value chain: to improve networking and partnerships among key actors for climate adaptation by strengthening existing platforms and structures at all levels and exploring the role of incentives (e.g., standards); to develop new, flexible financial products to support climate-resilient and inclusive agro-value chains through capacity building and innovative public-private partnerships; and to increase investments in climate-resilient infrastructures such as roads, irrigation systems, storage facilities and telecommunications.
  • Follow-up phase: The collaborating parties are designing a follow-up phase, with particular attention to strengthening linkages along the coffee value chain through ‘climate smart’ financial schemes, in collaboration with the Centenary Bank, the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) and the National Union of Coffee Agribusinesses and Farm Enterprises (NUCAFE).

IISD contributes to sustainable development by advancing policy recommendations on international trade and investment, economic policy, climate change and energy, natural and social capital, and the enabling role of communication technologies in these areas.

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